Becoming an ultrasound technician can provide you with a good career as well as a means of helping others. Many members of the public are only familiar with ultrasound technology being used for diagnostic imaging in pregnancy, but you do not always have to work in obstetrics and gynecology. Ultrasound technicians, more commonly known as sonographers, can be recruited to use their knowledge and expertise for all ailments and areas of the human body. As a sonographer, you may be called upon to perform an ultrasound on a person’s abdomen, upper back, chest, or any other region of their body. You may use your knowledge to identify cancerous tumors in a patient. Sonography is so much more than determining the health and sex of a fetus!
If you think that becoming a sonographer is the right choice for you, then here is a guide to becoming a sonographer as well as advancing your career beyond your initial certification.
If you have decided that pursuing a career as a sonographer is the right choice for you, then you should start looking for programs and courses in your area so that you can earn a certification. You can also earn a degree in ultrasound technology, which can be especially helpful later on in your career. Some programs are two-year courses that lead to an Associate’s degree (AS), though other programs last for four-years and lead to a Bachelor’s degree. Most hospitals and clinics will not hire you if you are not certified. It is important that you apply to accredited programs and institutions, as these educational bodies will have a standard to which their courses must adhere. You can choose to enter a program that offers its own certifications, or apply for outside certifications after completing your course. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) provides widely-accepted credentials and examinations for all aspects of sonography.
In general, there are usually two examinations that you must pass in order to receive your certification. The first exam is on the basic principles of sonography, while the second focuses on a sonography for an area of the body, such as the abdomen. Once you have passed these, you will be able to begin applying for positions.
Becoming a Lead Sonographer
Your education does not end once you receive your certification and find work as an ultrasound technician. As you begin your career, you may find that you need to be re-certified depending on your jurisdiction. You can also take additional courses to improve your performance as a sonographer. This is because ultrasound technology is constantly changing and improving. What you studied for your initial certification may no longer count as cutting-edge technology. For example, 3D diagnostic imaging is constantly improving, so you will have to keep studying in order to improve your skills in this area.
As time goes on, you can apply for jobs at other hospitals or clinics. This can come with an increase in pay as well as an opportunity to prove yourself as an experienced sonographer. You will be able to network and meet with other people in your field through conferences and re-certification programs. This will help you decide where you want to take your career in sonography after your first few years.
Advancing Your Career Though Applying for Higher Positions
After you have worked for a few years as an ultrasound technician, you may be ready for new opportunities within the field. You may want to transition from working with patients to working with medical supply companies, or you may want to begin working in education or research and development. Your training as a sonographer will provide you with the hands-on experience that many of these companies are looking for. You could work in a consultancy position for medical supply companies who want to purchase or develop new ultrasound products. In addition, you can help companies design their own ultrasound products using your experience and knowledge.
You may find that you want to work in education so that you can help others achieve their goal of becoming an ultrasound technician. More and more institutions will be looking for instructors as sonography becomes a popular career choice. In order to applying for teaching positions, you will need a bachelor’s degree, updated sonography certifications from an accredited institution, and several years of experience.
Working as an ultrasound technician can be an incredibly rewarding and successful career if you are ready to put in the effort. With hard work and dedication, you can use your work as an ultrasound technician as a means to help people. If you think that a career in sonography is right for you, try contacting your local ultrasound technology program today for more information.